In hot pursuit to stop the obscene play of ill-gotten money in the ongoing general elections, the poll watchdog has so far seized a whopping sum of Rs218 crore in cash and 1.08 crore litres of liquor from the wheeler-dealers of nearly all political parties.
This could just be the tip of the iceberg, say EC officials, as a lot of unaccounted money is expected to be exchanging hands through people who do not come in the tax net.
Andhra Pradesh that is witnessing assembly polls along with general elections has surpassed every other state by far, and tops the infamous chart with a seizure of Rs118.5 crore in cash as on April 11.
Uttar Pradesh stands a distant second with a seizure of Rs21.5 crore in cash followed closely by Tamil Nadu at Rs19 crore.
And as if, the ugly act of wooing voters through money power alone was not enough, the wannabe MPs continue to drench gullible electors in liquor in the hope to get votes despite a clear ban on the movement of liquor by the election commission.
The officials of EC that have fanned out in critical constituencies of every state have so far impounded a shocking 1,08,52,521 litres or 1.08 crore litres of liquor –or enough to fill 9 overhead tanks supplying water to 3,000 families of five people each.
EC officials said the liquor seized includes both bonded Indian liquor and country made. Pegged at prices between Rs150 and Rs200 per litre, the cost of the impounded liquor alone is a staggering Rs162 crore to Rs220 crore. In 91 constituencies that went to the polls on April 10 in the third phase, the election observers managed to seize Rs29.25 crore in cash and impounded Rs1.21 lakh litres of liquor, said PK
Dash, director general of Election Commission looking after expenditure trails.
To check the unbridled flow of money and liquor the EC had roped in 800 experienced IAS and IRS officers to enforce a level playing field among political parties.
To make the impossible task possible, each Expenditure Observer is being accompanied by 2-3 assistant expenditure observers, 7-8 micro observers and about 8-10 paramilitary personnel.
Before going in for a haul, the expenditure observers looked at the past elections trends and sat with the local income tax and excise officials to draw a list of probable offenders and critical constituencies.